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Ellison: Fleet Farm Gun Sales Feeding Black Market

Plus St. Paul says let kids play, a third-party candidate dies, and Yung Gravy enters the year's dumbest scandal in today's Flyover.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Keith Ellison Sues Fleet Farm Over Gun Sales

Fleet Farm has been selling guns to straw buyers who then sell them on the black market, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison alleges. “Instead of fulfilling their legal obligation to detect and prevent straw purchases, Fleet Farm ignored multiple red flags: they took money from straw purchasers and looked the other way,” he wrote in a statement. “They put their own profit over Minnesotans’ safety." While some of the illegally obtained guns have been recovered most are still out there. The charges include sale of 37 firearms to two specific buyers over the last 16 months. "We are confident that we will prevail in this matter," the the Appleton, Wisconsin-based company told Biz Journal. Weapons purchased at Fleet Farm include guns used in last year’s deadly Seventh Street Truck Park shootout in St. Paul. So far two straw purchasers have been convicted of federal crimes in connection with the sales.

St. Paul's Plan to Save Youth Sports

If you don't have kids, and it's been a while since you were a kid, you might not know that youth sports have changed a lot over the last two-ish decades... and not exactly for the better. Financially speaking, the 2008 recession effectively ended public funding for parks and rec departments and local sports, and the private sector stepped in—meaning that in many communities, poorer kids have been wholly priced out. (For a great primer on this and much more re: youth sports, I have to recommend this recent conversation between Anne Helen Peterson and Lina Flanagan, author of Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports, and Why It Matters.)

Here's one weird trick to fix that: Get rid of youth sports fees. As Frederick Melo of the Pioneer Press tweeted last night, that's what St. Paul did with basketball—resulting in a 35% increase in registration with 1,257 signed up. "I’m super proud of this; it’s one of the coolest things we’ve done," Mayor Melvin Carter elaborated in a quote tweet, noting that the city actually used American Rescue Plan funds to eliminate fees for all sports and is now serving 1,000 more kids than it did at the same time last year. This is really good.

We’re Sure This Is a Coincidence, But…

Unlikely developments occur in politics all the time, but this latest sad bit of news we have been brung is particularly odd. Paula Overby, the Marijuana Now Party candidate in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, has died. Just prior to the last election in 2020, the Legal Marijuana Now candidate in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, Adam Weeks, died in September before the election. That's ... weird. Weeks’s death stirred up considerably turmoil. A friend of his provided the Star Tribune of a recording where Weeks had said GOP ops recruited him to “pull votes away” from DFL candidate Angie Craig for the “other guy,” GOP-endorsee Tyler Kistner. (Kistner’s got some problems of his own, as his previous claims that he saw battle in Afghanistan have been cut down.) And a legal battle over whether the 2020 election should be postponed wound up in the U.S. Supreme Court, which said “nah.” (That is an official legal term. Look it up.)

Overby, 68, became the first openly trans candidate to run for Congress in Minnesota in 2014, and demonstrated a long commitment to third-party politics. The Secretary of State’s office says she will remain on the ballot and the election will take place as planned.

What’s a Yung Gravy? Who’s a Try Guy? When Shall the Twain Meet?

In a heated newsroom debate straight outta All the President’s Men, the Racket editors shouted and slammed fists upon desktops to determine the fat of this, the all-important fourth Flyover news blurb. Some rallied for the fascist sugar story, others lobbied for the new North Loop luxury hotel. Others summoned me, Jay, to wield my Yung Gravy expertise and make sense of this extraordinary dumb tabloid news item: “Yung Gravy shocks fans with Ariel Fulmer Instagram follow amid Try Guys drama.”

Right, OK, let’s work through this piece by piece. As Racket readers learned this summer via my in-depth profile, Yung Gravy is a Rochester-born rapper whose carefully curated persona centers on banging MILFs; he’s blowing up in a major way right now, no doubt the result of our press. The Try Guys, and I learned this mere moments ago, are a trio of BuzzFeed video dorks who “try” things—cooking challenges, sky-diving, whatever. (They happen to be “guys.”) So turns out one of the guys, Ned “Wife Guy” Fulmer, was recently exposed for having cheated on his wife, Ariel Fulmer, who we’re led to believe is also a MILF.

You can see where this is going: Yesterday, as bored internet users splashed around in all the Try Guy drama, Gravy posted a TikTok under the prompt “Drop your most recent W.” We learn seconds later that his win was an Insta follow from scorned MILF Ariel, thus hinting at a future hookup and securing Gravy’s status as a marketing savant. Feel dumber for having read this far? Go check out Axios; they’re shilling the opposite of what I’m doing with something called “Smart Brevity.” Welp, see ya! 

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, we said Minneapolis could also consider eliminating youth sports fees. And they did! Back in March. Way to go, Minneapolis.

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